August 2022

This month we feature our new set of Poems which will circulate on London Underground and Overground trains through the first half of August. We follow this with a selection of Commonwealth poems, Music poems, Summer poems and poems of Dreams and Time.

New Poems on the Underground

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley 'I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal these words appear: 'My name is OZYMANDIAS, King of Kings: Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.'

No Man is an Island by John Donne

'No Man is an Island' by John Donne from meditation 17, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions 'No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.'

Caterpillar La Chenille by Guillaume Apollinaire, translated by Robert Chandler

La Chenille Caterpillar by Guillaume Apollinaire, tr Robert Chandler 'La Chenille Le travail mène à la richesse. Pauvres poètes, travaillons! La chenille en peinant sans cesse Devient le riche papillon. Caterpillar Work hard, poets, work with good cheer: Work leads to wealth and freedom from fear; And butterflies, for all their graces, Are merely caterpillars who persevere. ' Reprinted by permission of Robert Chandler from Guillaume Apollinaire, Poems, translated by Robert Chandler (Everyman 2000)

from War of the Beasts and the Animals by Maria Stepanova, translated by Sasha Dugdale

from War of the Beasts and the Animals by Maria Stepanova, tr. Sasha Dugdale ' on the twenty-second of june at four o’clock on the dot I won’t be listening to anything I’ll have my eyes shut I’ll bury the foreign broadcast It’s the news but I won’t lift a hand If anyone comes I’m out of the loop I’m a sparrow I’m no man’s land' Reprinted by permission of Bloodaxe Books from Maria Stepanova, War of the Beasts and the Animals, trans. Sasha Dugdale (2021)

Ditches by Jessica Traynor

Ditches by Jessica Traynor ' So many songs I could sing you, spread fields of lavender for you to crush in your fists. But there are things more potent than the peaches and plums in your story books, there are shadows in the ditch that know your name. Sit with me – I’ll teach you theirs.' Reprinted by permission of Bloodaxe Books from Pit Lullabies (2022)

‘Dei Miracole’ by Lemn Sissay

Dei Miracole by Lemn Sissay ' The spirit of structure can’t be foreseen, For somewhere between The architecture and the dream More than the sum of its parts Somehow, somewhere, the heart.' Copyright Listener by Lemn Sissay, 2008. First published in Great Britain by Canongate Books Ltd.

Commonwealth Poems on the Underground

Viv for Cricketer Vivian Richards by Faustin Charles (Trinidad)

Viv, Faustin Charles Like the sun rising and setting Like the thunderous roar of a bull rhino Like the sleek, quick grace of a gazelle,

Greek Antiquities: First Floor by Lauris Edmond (New Zealand)

Greek Antiquities: First Floor by Lauris Edmond ' Little sculptured animals, young deer still stiffy running, still with bright and frightened eyes, my fingers touch the tiny perforations that mark the spots upon your coats of clay and find them rough and hard. Will any dream of mine so run, wakeful through more than twenty centuries? Lauris Edmond (1924-2000) New Zealand Reprinted by permission of OUP (New Zealand) from Selected Poems 1984 Commonwealth Poems on the Underground

Ibadan by J.P. Clark-Bekederemo (Nigeria)

Ibadan J.P. Clark-Bekederemo ' Ibadan, running splash of rust and gold - flung and scattered among seven hills like broken china in the sun.'

Architecture by Dom Moraes (India)

architecture by Dom Moraes (b.1938) ' The architecture of an aunt Made the child dream of cupolas, Domes, other smoothly rondured shapes. Geometries troubled his sleep. The architecture of young women Mildly obsessed the young man: Its globosity, firmness, texture, Lace cobwebs for adornment and support. Miles from his aunt, the old child Watched domes and cupolas defaced In a hundred countries, as time passed. A thousand kilometres of lace defiled, And much gleaming and perfect architecture Flaming in the fields with no visible support' Dom Moraes (b.1938) India Reprinted by permission of Penguin Books India from Collected Poems 1957-1987 Commonwealth Poems on the Underground

The Palm Trees at Chigawe by Jack Mapanje (Malawi)

The Palm Trees at Chigawe. Jack Mapanje 'You stood like women in green Proud travellers in panama hats and java print'

Free by Merle Collins (Grenada)

Free, Merle Collins 'Born free to be caught and fashioned and shaped and freed to wander within a caged dream of tears'

Music Poems on the Underground

Under the Greenwood Tree by William Shakespeare

Under the Greenwood Tree by William Shakespeare (from As You Like It) 'Under the greenwood tree Who loves to lie with me, And turn his merry note Unto the sweet bird's throat, Come hither, come hither, come hither: Here shall he see No enemy But winter and rough weather. Who doth ambition shun And loves to live i' th' sun, Seeking the food he eats, And pleased with what he gets, Come hither, come hither, come hither! Here shall he see No enemy But winter and rough weather.' Poems on the Underground 1996 Poster

Song by George Peele

Song by George Peele (1557-96) ' Whenas the rye reach to the chin, And chopcherry, chopcherry ripe within, Strawberries swimming in the cream, And schoolboys playing in the stream; Then O, then O, then O my true love said, Till that time come again, She could not live a maid.'

The silver swan by Anonymous  

The Silver Swan, Anon ( c. 1600) Poems on the Underground 1992 'The silver swan, who living had no note, When death approached unlocked her silent throat, Leaning her breast against the reedy shore, Thus sung her first and last ,and sung no more: Farewell all joys, O death come close mine eyes, More goose than swans now live, more fools than wise'

Proud Songsters by Thomas Hardy

The Birds Will Still Sing by Anise Koltz translated by John Montague

Anise Koltz Tr. John Montague , The Birds Will Still Sing ' Les oiseaux continuent à chanter Abattez mes branches sciez-moi en morceaux les oiseaux continuent à chanter dans mes racines The Birds Will Still Sing Break my branches saw me into bits the birds will still sing in my roots'

The Songs by Martin Bell

The Songs by Martin Bell ' Continuous, a medley of old pop numbers – Our lives are like this. Three whistled bars Are all it takes to catch us, defenceless On a District Line platform, sullen to our jobs, And the thing stays with us all day, still dapper, still Astaire, Still fancy-free. We’re dreaming while we work. Be careful, keep afloat, the past is lapping your chin. South of the Border is sad boys in khaki In 1939. And J’attendrai a transit camp, Tents in the dirty sand. Don’t go back to Sorrento. Be brisk and face the day and set your feet On the sunny side always, the sunny side of the street ' Reprinted by permission of Bloodaxe Books from Complete Poems (1988)

Summer Poems on the Underground

Midsummer, Tobago by Derek Walcott

Midsummer, Tobago, Derek Walcott 'Broad sun-stoned beaches. White heat. A green river. A bridge, scorched yellow palms from the summer-sleeping house drowsing through August. Days I have held, days I have lost, days that outgrow, like daughters, my harbouring arms.'
from The Greek Anthology, Anyte of Tegea trans. David Constantine ‘Midsummer in the leaves there’s a murmuring breath of air. Among the roots a cold spring bubbles through. Wayfarer, weary to death, here is kindness to spare. Earthly, heavenly, as the tree lives, so may you.’
From The Garden, Andrew Marvell ' What wondrous life in this I lead! Ripe apples drop about my head; The luscious clusters of the vine Upon my mouth do crush their wine; The nectarine, and curious peach, Into my hands themselves do reach; Stumbling on melons, as I pass, Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass. Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less, Withdraws into its happiness: The mind, that ocean where each kind Does straight its own resemblance find; Yet it creates, transcending these, Far other worlds, and other seas; Annihilating all that’s made To a green thought in a green shade.'
The Thunderbolt’s Training Manual, Danielle Hope ‘Choose a soporific afternoon. As sunbathers doze, saturday papers abandoned.’
London Fields, Michael Rosen ‘Evening falls between the trees The drumming for Ghana fills the leaves’
In the Heart of Hackney, Sebastian Barker ‘Behold, a swan. Ten houseboats on the Lee. A cyclist on the towpath. Gentle rain.’
Chilling Out Beside the Thames, John Agard ‘Summer come, mi chill-out beside the Thames. Spend a little time with weeping willow.’

Poems of Dreams and Time

Words in Time by Archibald MacLeish

Words in Time by Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982) ' Bewildered with the broken tongue Of wakened angels in our sleep- Then, lost the music that was sung And lost the light time cannot keep! There is a moment when we lie Bewildered, wakened out of sleep, When light and sound and all reply: That moment time must tame and keep. That moment, like a flight of birds Flung from the branches where they sleep, The poet with a beat of words Flings into time for time to keep. ' Poems on the Underground Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin from New & Collected Poems, 1917-1976

The World by Henry Vaughan

The World by Henry Vaughan (1621-95) ' I saw Eternity the other night Like a great Ring of pure and endless light, All calm, as it was bright, And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years Driv'n by the spheres Like a vast shadow mov'd, in which the world And all her train were hurl'd... '

Eternity by William Blake

Eternity by William Blake 'He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy He who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in Eternity’s sun rise'

Dreams by Robert Herrick

Dreams by Robert Herrick (1591-1674) ' Here we are all, by day; by night we're hurled By dreams, each one, into a several world.'

A Dream of Leavin by James Berry

A dream of leavin, James Berry ' Man, so used to notn, this is a dream I couldn't dream of dreamin so - I scare I might wake up. One day I would be Englan bound! A travel would have me on sea not chained down below, every tick of clock, but free, man! Free like tourist! Never see me coulda touch world of Englan - when from all accounts I hear that is where all we prosperity end up. I was always in a dream of leavin. My half-finished house was on land where work-laden ancestors' bones lay. The old plantation land still stretch-out down to the sea, giving grazing to cattle.'

Dream Boogie by Langston Hughes

Dream Boogie , Langston Hughes 'Good morning, daddy! Ain’t you heard The boogie-woogie rumble Of a dream deferred? Listen closely: You’ll hear their feet Beating out and beating out a— You think It’s a happy beat? Listen to it closely: Ain’t you heard something underneath like a— What did I say? Sure, I’m happy! Take it away! Hey, pop! Re-bop! Mop! Y-e-a-h!'

You can see our poems from July 2022 here